Mabel and Fatty viewing the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition

fatty-mabel

The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition was San Francisco’s second fair (following the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair) and her first major exposition. The 1915 fair celebrated both the opening of the newly-completed Panama Canal — a triumph of Franco-American engineering — and the newly-rebuilt San Francisco, vital and vigorous after recovering from the 1906 earthquake and fire. The fair opened on February 20, 1915, and closed December 4, 1915, having attracted 18,876,438 visits by several million visitors. Mabel Normand and Fatty Arbuckle were major comedy stars of the silent screen. Mabel Normand (1894-1930) was a brilliant comedienne and prankster with an irrepressible vitality who became a Mack Sennet star. She played opposite such greats as Charlie Chaplin and Fatty Arbuckle and was perhaps the most talented comic star of the silent screen. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1887-1933), a vaudeville veteran, became one of Sennet’s Keystone Kops in 1913 and rose to stardom. In 1917 he was accused of sexual assault in the death of starlet Virginia Rappe, who collapsed during a wild drinking party he threw in a suite of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Although acquitted, Arbuckle’s career was ruined.

[via] Library of Congress

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